Friday, 26 May 2017

Weekly Roundup, W/E 19/05/2017

Now that I'm finally...almost...up to date with my weekly roundups again, as of posting this one at least (which took me a full week, thus leaving me behind again), I'm going to finally try and get back to writing meaningful introductions. The roundups are really important to me because they're a backup for my stats and an interesting prose reflection of my experiences at the same time. I don't know who reads them, but hello to anyone who is, and feel free to get in touch with me to let me know any thoughts you may have! Also, if you run a quiz and would be interested in having me as a team member, because I'm always up for that. Have quiz knowledge, will travel!

Quiz #95 - Sunday 14th May, Turf Tavern, Carlisle

On with the show, and my week began with all my thoughts devoted to tomorrow's upcoming quiz that I'd be hosting. I was happy to actually attend this one though, and hoped I could de-stress after wrestling with the printer much of the day, and finally completing my quiz. On the team front, I again joined J & A, though their other friends were mostly working so we were effectively just 3 again. Last week's winners were back to a full team, which boded ill for us, but we were determined to fight for 2nd. It looked like a busy night, though ultimately only 5 teams remained by the end.

We started pretty effectively, excellently working out the last 5 pictures for 7 in total, before lumbering somewhat towards 6 on the current events. The top 5 lists were both brutal, wanting the songs that had spent more than 14 weeks at Number 1 in the charts, and then the English holiday resorts beginning with C and D that have a pier. We only had two of each, and the latter two only came after speaking randomly with someone who wasn't playing who happened to give us two without us asking. I didn't see anything wrong with going for them, especially as we had nothing else, but we didn't have any of the others.

Alpha Links this week was very difficult. We actually did get the first 5, somehow, including an excellently worked out Emily Bronte based on her pseudonym, Ellis Bell but then missed 4 in a row before picking up the last, which was Leeds - J wasn't going to miss that one.

The connections round was pretty reasonable actually, at least for a regular quizzer, as it contained a couple of chestnuts; if I didn't know that King Edward VIII was the one who abdicated in the 30s, something would have been wrong. Not least because it was in one of my own quiz questions, but that's not the only reason. There was one half guess, but even that wasn't really one, I just didn't know that Vivaldi was also a type of potato! Had to have been, and again we took all 5. Sometimes, you really shouldn't second guess yourself.

The Wipeout round seemed oddly easier than the others, and we were certain on 5 of the first 6, as well as the last. But question 7, which we also thought we were certain on, was our downfall. When asked for a person shot in 1981, we were sure it was John Lennon. Nope, that was 1980, and it was Ronald Reagan. We were stunned, and lost our other 6 points. Incredibly, last week's winners had done exactly the same thing, for exactly the same reason, which at least helped us feel a bit better.

As it happened, we'd have tied for the win if we hadn't made that error, but they'd have been further clear if they hadn't, so I've no complaints. It was a tough quiz and we weren't alone in thinking it. There was even a single digit score. Oh well, better luck next week!

Result: 28/55 (50.91%), 2nd/5

Quiz #96 - Tuesday 16th May, Ship Inn, Dumfries

For the first time in quite a while, the team formerly known as the Quizlamic Extremists were whole again, as our other couple returned. In fact, we were more than that, as two other friends of the others joined us. Strictly speaking, that made us 7 when there's a team limit of 6, but other teams have breached this before, and the Cree West team sitting directly beside us had 8, so no one was complaining.

Unfortunately even such company was unable to push our GK score beyond the norm in what was a typically brutal round. 3.5 meant we were tied 3rd, and remained there after round 2 despite scoring only 2 on sport! Our score speaks to our knowledge of the subject, the placing speaks to the difficulty of the quiz generally. We moved up to joint 2nd position after a similarly hard science and nature round that gave us another 3.5, which saw one of the team tied 1st after round 2 drop back a bit.

The host did note that only one team had more than 10/30 after round 3, but none of us in the team were for denying that the reason was the difficulty of the questions and not the calibre of the quizzers. The pictures this week were fictional robots, and as could be expected, there were a few we got easily, a couple we missed that we should have gotten, and one or two we recognised but couldn't actually name. 11 was reasonable, and put is a point clear in 2nd, only half a point behind the leaders now, from 3.5 after the previous round.

The specialist round had us on a hiding to nothing from the start - type 1 diabetes. We got yet another 3.5, our 3rd of the night, dropping us to 3rd. We got 2nd place back after the music, however, thanks to a strong 24/30. That says a lot about how important the music round is. We were very close here, so no regrets, but it would have been nice to get a fairly rare win at this quiz, as they're hard to come by these days!

Result: 47.5/85 (55.88%), 2nd/8

Quiz #97 - Wednesday 17th May, Granary, Dumfries

The Granary quiz has a tendency sometimes to focus on a certain subject for a couple of its rounds, but it also avoids using the same subject too often, which means we inevitably end up trying to predict what will come up. It also helps in that if you struggle with a subject one week, you probably don't need to worry about it recurring the next. This time, the focus was general knowledge - making next week anyone's guess! 

The first round was pretty difficult, but a bit of luck gave us half marks. There was time to recover yet, but the second round wasn't where we could do it. Interesting idea for a round, famous people whose surname is a male first name. I am myself an example, my surname being Lewis of course. We again lucked our way to 5.

The next round was a double length GK that started disastrously for us, as we managed just 3 of those 10. We rallied, however, with 8 in the second 10. It helped that one of the questions was the reverse of one I'd asked in my own quiz; I wouldn't have known it otherwise! 

The last round was also GK, and it was deliberately intended to be easier. That it was, and another 8/10 ensured we ended with a respectable score. It was noted that we'd won "several" times before, which was nice, though that only means twice. Still, our placing was the worst it had been for a while, yet was decent all the same. Nothing to be ashamed of there! I think we were 5th as I've got a note of a missing 2nd placed score, though the host said there were 13 teams and a missing score would make 14. It seems more likely that a score is missing than that he's been certain about the number of teams, so I'll err on the side of caution and assume the lower placing for my records.

Result: 29/50 (58%), joint 5th/14

Quiz #98 - Thursday 18th May, Masonic Arms, Kirkcudbright

I don't normally do a Thursday quiz in the summer, and had resolved not to make a regular habit of it this year. But my 100th quiz was approaching and I decided that it ought to be the Sunday quiz, since it could be if only I did one more this week. It was expected that I'd do one in Carlisle with J and the Turf's host, but our only option there was cancelled because of football. So instead I went to an occasional haunt of mine, the Masonic Arms in Kirkcudbright. It's 35 miles away so a longer trek even than Carlisle, and has an entry fee, making going there an expensive proposition. I'll say right now that I'm going to avoid doing this too regularly, but I do like the place and I'm well enough known that I can get a team when I need to. Despite not having been there since last August, I was recognised by name immediately by both hosts. Nice to see! I did find a team, two tourists from Prestwick. Very nice people they were, and far more knowledgeable than they let on (usually the way!)

I'll need to explain the format of this quiz before I can proceed. Basically, rather than 6 rounds of 10 questions, there's 12 rounds of 5. Each has a name, which can be rather cryptic, like "That's the Spirit" (drinks as it happened), or "The Moon's a Loon" (linked by the Moon). Each team can play a single joker round at any time, which makes the points double or nothing. If any team plays their joker on a given round, the marking tends to become stricter, with less leeway given for "almost right" answers, to ensure fairness. The joker is never mandatory, and you don't need to use it at all.

The quiz is split into two halves, with the answers swapped and marked after the first 6 rounds. The half time leaders are also noted. There's also a bonus round which can be worked on throughout the quiz. This is usually for a large number of points, and is not considered with the main quiz itself in terms of the scores. In my past experience, the bonus was for about 20/25 points, though in this case, it was a lot more - 57. For my stats, I'm considering it a part of the main quiz for overall points, but only counting the placing from the main quiz. In this blog, I'll note all 3 figures separately, for completeness.

Prize-wise, it's cash for 1st and 2nd, with a tiebreak deciding the winners if there is a joint placing. A round of drinks is awarded for the 2nd lowest score, i.e. those who "won" in avoiding the ignominy of last place. The bonus has its own fixed £10 prize for 1st place. This time, there was a tie for last place, and on the scores directly above last place, and it was decided that the team winning the round of drinks should have achieved a score above that of last place. Clearly not a common scenario.

This might take a while to go through, but I'll try and be quick about it. I made good early headway with the bonus round, but I'll come to that later. To be clear, we did not use our joker at ll. GK started and ended the quiz, and we had 2 on first of them. 3 on Sport & Leisure round that had 6 points (because of a two-parter) was followed by 4 on an interesting round linked by eggs; not all were food questions. Castles was a pretty self-explanatory round, and we missed the first and last but got the other 3. Famous "fathers" (mostly priests) gave us the same score, before we rounded out the round with our first full house on answers linked by the 30s. Correctly working out the DMZ parallel in Korea helped there!

At the half way point we had 20/31 - the high score being 24, that was pretty good! We started the 2nd half with a...well we got 5, but it wasn't a full house due to an extra point. Only a single dropped point in the aforementioned drinks round meant we were starting this half well. Our worst round of the half was the 9th in total, as we scored a meagre 2 on household objects. We could have had a full house on the Moon round but for being unable to remember the name of the Moonies church - the Unification Church. Shame, especially as we knew it was something ordinary.

Fortunately, it was almost our last dropped point of the main quiz. The next round was things named for animals but which weren't animals, and we got "Super Guppy" wrong, as it was a plane not a hovercraft. We were given it, but agreed that we'd deduct it from our own score was it was a mistake on the part of the marking team. I'm nothing if not honest! We had another 5 on the final GK to end the round and the quiz.

The bonus round was missing words from the titles and names of the leading actors from films in the 2000s beginning with "The". It was a great round for me, more so than my team, and almost as soon as I saw it I was firing through answers. Most of them came, but not al. We were still tied for the top score on 45, however, with a team of younger people who had been in the lead at half way point in the main quiz but were tied 2nd overall by the end.

The ensuing tiebreak question for us was the number of bags stolen in the Great Train Robbery. Much hilarity was had due to both of us estimating below 40 - about 100 short - but we won! The team insisted I keep the money, which was very very kind of them. In the main quiz, we were outside the top 3 with 45, but couldn't have been far beyond it as the 3rd placed score was 47. The tiebreaks were getting ridiculous by the end, because a second one was required to decide 2nd place for reasons I can't recall. The same team being involved in 3 was even funnier.

I had to say, aside from knowing the format, I had little idea what to expect of this quiz, but I loved it; I had a really great time. It was rowdier than usual, but it was a really fun atmosphere, and the great score and prize money made it all the better. Not sure when I'll be back, but they're going to be happy to see me and I'm going to be happy to be there. Plus the night ended up overall cheaper and shorter than had I gone to Carlisle!

Result: 44/62 (70.97%, main quiz), 45/57 (78.95%, bonus), 89/119 (74.79%, combined), unknown (outside top 3)/unknown

Quiz #99 - Friday 19th May, The Grapes, Springholm

My 99th quiz of the year - the 100th was approaching fast! Back to the Grapes, on a rather quiet night. There weren't many teams, and I ended up joining half the Damned United, the other half not being there. Me and this gentleman, I, were a duo against the other teams, which included the KPD3. One of whom had been in Kirkcudbright actually, sitting right behind me. I hadn't realised that until half way through that quiz, and they ended up winning the 2nd placed tiebreak. Different team however, and I knew the danger of my enemy this time.

We started strongly with 16, demonstrating the good combined knowledge that led to a 14 point win a good while ago now. We were falsely awarded the 1st point after I annoyingly forgot the name of the FBI director fired by Trump and wasn't close enough with my guess. We self-deducted for that, and missed the 2nd as well, but got the other 8. That was also our score on answers linked by body parts. There were some interesting answers here - the Calf of Man, for example, a tiny island near the more famous Isle. We lost one on the flag of Sicily, which is one of two places to have 3 legs on it ; the Isle of Man being the other.

The 2nd set started with our 3rd consecutive 8, showing high consistency, but we fell to just 4 on questions relating to song lyrics. These rounds don't come up too often here but are brutal when they do. A couple we knew and a lucky guess helped. Nothing more to be said.

Sadly that was not our nadir in the quiz, that instead being the 3rd set, which started with a dismal 5 on GK, about which there was nothing we could have done. I'm usually better than 6 on the "Add a Letter" rounds, which I've got to say, I adore, but my teammate didn't feel the same way so I was largely alone here. In attempting to get 4 missing ones all at once, I wasn't focussing my efforts strongly enough on any one specific answer, which meant I missed them all. The Teddy Bears got all 10 here, which damaged the lead we knew we had over them. I wanted to beat them, having joined a couple of them last time out!

The 4th set saw us regain an advantage over them, with interest, because they managed only 2 each on these. We again struggled on GK, getting only 4 in a mixed round that saw me give 2 half answers unfortunately. Connections usually ends these quizzes now, and this time we had the connection almost immediately. Despite I previously working for a cigarette manufacturer we couldn't get the answer to a question about them, but still had enough to realise it was monopoly squares. No, Malboroughs were never popular here - but we still stumbled onto the right answer which was quickly thereafter confirmed. One more escaped us, but we'd recovered to 12 in total with that 8.

That left the final round and we had reason to believe we were one of the two teams that could win. On that we had 6, which meant we had won - by 11 points! An incredible performance, that stretched I's personal winning streak from about February, the only exception being the quiz he wasn't actually there for. We gave some great answers, including two in the last round - Fangio as an Argentine F1 driver, the YOC being a group that studied birds, and the Loire as the longest river in France. With that sort of knowledge, I think we deserved it. Very very happy!

Result: 57/90 (63.33%), 1st/unknown

Week in Summation

It's been another great week, honestly. It was really stressful for the most part, since my weekend was dedicated to preparing for my own hosted quiz, and the emotional comedown from that lasted until about Thursday. Worth everything though, I loved the experience and can't wait to do it all again! In terms of quizzes I actually did, there were 2 seconds and first. It's really hard to argue with that, especially the dominant performance on Friday to end the week. There's also the bonus round win on Thursday, which was great. I've had better scores, but the results speak for themselves. There's a lot to be proud of there, and a lot I can build on for the future. More weeks like this, please!

Total Result: 250.5/399 (62.78%)

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